[An archive of letters and photographs by an American missionary doctor in China.]. Archibald McFayden, Catherine McFayden, compiler Flora McNeill Boyce, compiler John McFayden.
[An archive of letters and photographs by an American missionary doctor in China.]
[An archive of letters and photographs by an American missionary doctor in China.]
[An archive of letters and photographs by an American missionary doctor in China.]
[An archive of letters and photographs by an American missionary doctor in China.]
[An archive of letters and photographs by an American missionary doctor in China.]
[An archive of letters and photographs by an American missionary doctor in China.]
[An archive of letters and photographs by an American missionary doctor in China.]
[An archive of letters and photographs by an American missionary doctor in China.]
[An archive of letters and photographs by an American missionary doctor in China.]
[An archive of letters and photographs by an American missionary doctor in China.]
[An archive of letters and photographs by an American missionary doctor in China.]
[An archive of letters and photographs by an American missionary doctor in China.]
[An archive of letters and photographs by an American missionary doctor in China.]
[An archive of letters and photographs by an American missionary doctor in China.]
[An archive of letters and photographs by an American missionary doctor in China.]
[An archive of letters and photographs by an American missionary doctor in China.]
[An archive of letters and photographs by an American missionary doctor in China.]
[An archive of letters and photographs by an American missionary doctor in China.]
[An archive of letters and photographs by an American missionary doctor in China.]
[An archive of letters and photographs by an American missionary doctor in China.]
[An archive of letters and photographs by an American missionary doctor in China.]
[An archive of letters and photographs by an American missionary doctor in China.]
[An archive of letters and photographs by an American missionary doctor in China.]
[An archive of letters and photographs by an American missionary doctor in China.]
[An archive of letters and photographs by an American missionary doctor in China.]
[An archive of letters and photographs by an American missionary doctor in China.]
[An archive of letters and photographs by an American missionary doctor in China.]
[An archive of letters and photographs by an American missionary doctor in China.]
[An archive of letters and photographs by an American missionary doctor in China.]
[An archive of letters and photographs by an American missionary doctor in China.]
[An archive of letters and photographs by an American missionary doctor in China.]
[An archive of letters and photographs by an American missionary doctor in China.]
[An archive of letters and photographs by an American missionary doctor in China.]
[An archive of letters and photographs by an American missionary doctor in China.]

[An archive of letters and photographs by an American missionary doctor in China.]

[China, Korea, America, and other locales, 1899–1940.].

A rich archive of seventy-five letters and 239 photographs chronicling the intersection between missionary work and medicine in China; the letters include content on opium suicides and the ongoing Chinese Famine of 1907, among other subjects. The photos document Chinese scenes, the Chinese people, the missionaries and their homes, and so on.

Hailing from Montreat, North Carolina, Archibald “Angus” McFayden (1877–1946) was a medical missionary who worked overseas for some four decades, from about 1901 to 1942, serving with the Southern Presbyterian Mission in Lianyungang (Hsuchowfu/Haichow) and Xuzhou (Suchowfu/Suchow), the latter located in the Jiangsu (Kiangsu) province. McFadyen's first wife Catherine, who was apparently a missionary teacher, died in 1914; his second wife Helen worked as a nurse at the mission hospital in Xuzhou. In Suchowfu, McFayden worked in a dispensary where he saw clients and worked alongside Chinese assistants. He notes here that during a single year he worked with as many as 10,000 patients (“of whom 775 stayed on the place for longer or shorter times”), conducting about 500 operations (“most of them were lighter ones upon the eyes”), and also conducting seventy-two “Chloroform cases.”

Contents as follows:

Archibald McFayden and Catherine McFayden. 75 autograph letters (Archibald 57; Catherine 18). 417 pp. (Archibald 307; Catherine 110). A handful of letters written on letterhead. Many letters with original envelopes. 1 typescript letter, 2 pp., from Alfred T. Graham of North Carolina to McFayden. A few clippings enclosed in several letters. Letters are often not dated, or only bear the day and month but not the year. A few letters feature both Catherine and Archibald’s handwriting.

The earliest letter here was written by Archibald on 18 March 1899 while he was studying at Davidson College in Davidson, North Carolina. His letters are variously written to his mother, father, daughter Sarah, relatives (John and Mary), and a Rev. Brown—all of whom lived in North Carolina. Some of McFayden’s most fascinating letters describe his work with one Mrs. Grier, a fellow missionary and doctor, in which cases of opium suicides are discussed, as well as the religious prospects of those who survive such suicide attempts. Catherine’s letters are primarily written to her sister and mother in North Carolina. In one of her letters she discusses an interesting encounter with a traveling Chinese salesmen.

Other subjects the McFaydens touch upon include the ongoing Russo-Japanese War (1904–05); McFayden’s patients; operations such as amputations; “coolie” laborers who worked in the mission; mission meetings and their topics; inter-missionary politics (often centering on a problematic missionary named Mr. White); the price of rice; poverty and food scarcity in China; a 40-hour “tug trip” via Chinese steamers on the Yangtze River (“horrid as usual”); the comings and goings of missionaries; exchanges with other doctors (one of them French); wealthy Chinese individuals McFayden personally knew, and so forth. There is considerable commentary on the ongoing Chinese Famine of 1907 and its end. Occurring in northern China, the famine was a crisis caused by heavy rains during the 1906 growing season, and lasted until the summer of 1907. It is estimated that as many as twenty-five million people died (which would make it the second worst famine in recorded history).

CONDITION: Letters generally good, no losses to the text; original envelopes good to fair.

[with]

PHOTO ARCHIVE

John McFayden, compiler? [Album I.] San Francisco, North Carolina, China, Korea, [1920s]. Black cloth covers with 108 photos (approx. 3” x 5.25”, plus margins) mounted on black paper (7” x 11”), 2 photos loose. Covers and leaves loose. Many images captioned. Several images missing from mounts. John McFayden’s ownership inscription on one page.

The ownership inscription suggests that this album was compiled by Archibald’s uncle, John McFayden. The photos appear to document John’s departure from San Francisco for Kuling in 1923. However, a number of images seem to have been captioned by Archibald himself, suggesting that he either came into possession of the album and added his own captions or added his own photos to the album. In any case, included here are images of the U.S. Army transport the Republic (showing the crew “dressed” and “undressed”); shots of a yacht that was rescued at sea by the Republic; McFayden’s cousin, Flora Boyce who worked as a missionary teacher (humorously captioned “empress of Japan Honolulu”); a group of Chinese school children (with a missionary teacher holding a child); McFayden’s children in Kuling (present-day Guling); Kwangju, Korean scenes; Hsuchowfu (present-day Xuzhou) during Christmas, 1923; white girls at school; McFayden and a friend Lacy Irvine in Kuling; the entrance into McFayden’s missionary compound; S.A.S. “the girl’s dormitory” (likely attended by McFayden’s daughters); a street scene “in front of the house ‘Shin Men’ or West Gate at the city”; a city wall and an execution ground nearby; scenes in Kuling (including one of “our bungalow” in Kuling); portraits of named individuals and groups; scenes in Kashing (Jiaxing); a picnic on a mountain; various pagodas; Soochow scenes; missionary children on the grounds of a mission school; beautiful scenes on the Yangtze River; family subjects in Montreat, North Carolina, and more. Two larger format images show the interior of the McFayden home, and McFayden and a woman missionary sitting with a Chinese man.

CONDITION: Covers and leaves loose; photos generally good, creasing, staining and small losses to a handful of photos.

[with]

Flora McNeill Boyce, compiler. [Album II.] China, [1920s]. Oblong 8vo (9.5” x 12.5”), full brown “alligator skin.” 130 photos (2.5” x 4.25” to 3.75” x 5.5”) pasted on brown paper. Many photos are captioned. Boyce’s ownership inscription on front pastedown.

This album was compiled by McFayden’s cousin, Flora McNeill Boyce (1872–1952), who was born in Decatur, Georgia and died in Hope Mills, North Carolina. Boyce taught in the Kwangju School for American children in Gwangju, South Korea, as well as the Pyengyang Foreign School, an American Presbyterian mission school in Pyongyang, North Korea that closed in 1940 in the wake of Korea’s increased militarization.

These photos were taken mainly while Boyce was traveling around China and visiting the mission. Pictured are scenes on the Yangtze River; an interesting island named “The Little Orphan”; a Chinese man “winding on up the mountain” with a load of sticks and other evocative scenes of laborers carrying crops; “the Cave of the Immortals”; Poyang Lake; a market scene; “the American school”; views of McFayden’s house; a sign for a baseball game (reading, “Presbyterians vs. World. Don’t miss the first big game”); “the Iron Pagoda” (situated atop a mountain); the Stone Tablet Pavilion; the Emerald Grotto; “Lion’s Leap”; Nani Kang Pass; a sculpture of the Buddha; scenes of missionaries on hiking and picnic trips; ruins of buildings; groups of missionaries (several taken on the top of a mountain); McFayden and his wife and children, and more.

CONDITION: Covers good; photos very good, little wear.

REPRESENTATIVE PASSAGES FROM THE LETTERS

“We are on the canal now going to Kuling. This is our 4th day on the trip. The first day we took carts and went to a small lake about ten miles from Hsuchafu. The next morning we set off on our journey for about 10 miles we went on a small canal through as fine wheat country as the world possesses. For five miles the canal was lined on one side by small house boats…there must have been 10000 people at work in the adjacent fields cutting wheat with small hooks… We got out of the grand canal about 120 miles north of Suchien…the current is in our favor… The canal is beautiful. The 1000 miles of its length must have taken almost as much labor as it will take to build the Panama. It is estimated that 10,000,000 people live on it and its beaches… We will probably get to Suchien tomorrow but as the Chinese say, who knows… Almost all Chinese men go naked to the waist in hot weather. They are toned so that they look like Negroes.”

“We are all so glad that the Russians got licked so thoroughly. I hope the end of the war is not in sight. The biggest part of the Chinese don’t know that there is a war going on, they are a peaceful people. Those who do know say much superior to the Japs…it will require hard and persistent work to wake them up. They are heathen only in name by action they are atheists. They like the pomp and display of idolatry but that is all. In belief even the priests scoff at that. They say openly that it is all kept up to give a few more people a means of living off their brethren.”

“Mrs. Grier says she knows that when she brings an opium suicide back to life she’s not doing the poor woman a favor except in the fact that she has another chance to learn about the gospel. She had a few suicide cases come back to be taught. I hear there is a woman suicide just come. Mr. Grafton has gone over to see if she is cutting up. Some of these [?] like fury rather than take the medicine we give them. You can’t blame them either for if you could see the way they fling Jonah you would think the medicine would kill them. It would be hard on us but they are used to bad treatment at home. The school house is going up rapidly. Have a force of about fifty men on working at it. You would think they would soon complete it but remember that they do just as little as they can… I have to go and tap a man now. He has been tapped twice but fills right up again. Guess there is not much chance for him to get well. Such cases as that never commit suicide. We lost a man who had taken opium because his wife would not darn his socks. That is not the ordinary excuse for committing suicide.”

“Mrs. Grier had an amputation of the breast today and I assisted her, then I had an eye lid that was torn half off and a cyst under the tongue to open and the usual run of abcesses and the link…my dispensary coolies get 50 cents and their board per month. They would get about a dollar and a quarter per month gold if they boarded themselves… We are trying now to find out what to do at the mission meeting. Mr. Rice has declined to come back here next year on account of Mr. White’s interference in his affairs. He has come to the same conclusion all the rest of us have that it is no use trying to get along with Mr. White but how to get rid of him is the problem. Mr. White is not willing to be bound by the majority vote of the station and continues to stir up fusses as he did last year.”

“The boat we had at first was nice and large and free from vermin which can be said of few boats in China. The tug trip was as horrid as usual. We had a little room of about 6 by 8 feet with a shelf on each side to act as a bed…the tug trip lasts only for about 40 hours so we can manage to stand it very well when you stick your head out the door you don’t know who is going to spit on you. On the big steamer on the Yangtze River I first tried to get Chinese passage on account of its choppiness but it was the cabin I knew Callie could not survive…found a Chinese gentleman who gave up his cabin to us and he slept out in the saloon… The coolies are too reckless and they let you dangle over the precipices in anything but a nice way. They are sure footed however and there is only a record of one fall over the precipice. We came up in open chairs carried by four men. Callie had a reclining chair and six men so she was doubly safe… Our servants are fussing because they say rice is twice as high as last year and they can’t live on the wages we give. But we say that they have been piling up money while up here and they can live on some of last years pile we give them extra pay for coming up here 2 1/2 cents a day.”

“The G’s came in Saturday night they report terrible rains around. Hanchaufoo and all the country is flooded. That means that the poor will suffer for food if not starve. This country is so poor and so full of folks that if the crops are cut off about one fourth of the people will be forced to starve. It must be awful to have to see people starving around you and be unable to help them. If they were not so stubborn and set in their ways they could have other means of livelihood.”

“Some of my patients are asking if they can go home for the first of the wheat harvest. It is the busy season of the year with them just as cotton is with you except it only lasts about one week. There are so many people that they make a clean sweep of the cutting in a very short time even if it is done with little reap hooks… Mr. and Mrs. Thompson Northern Presbyterians on their way to the U.S. Miss French of our mid-China mission returning to U.S. via Siberia. Yesterday Dr. Elliot of the Christian mission passed through and stopped off for a day. With the railroad we get travelers going east and west. Messrs. Rowland and McCollie expect to be here in about a month. We are the last station they will visit in China. They strike our mission at a very bad time, wheat harvest.”

“Have been going lately to see a rich Chinese one of the new railway directors. Some of the others there are also rich. The French railway doctor comes to see him too. The other day there were some Chinese there who talked to me in English and to the French doctor in French and among themselves in Chinese. They have capacity enough if they did not have so much [?] mixed up with it…there is every reason to believe that they will soon begin to go forward… Our rest at Chiupiang did a good deal of good.”

“I began this morning but didn’t get far before a man came with China to sell so I stopped to look at his wares. He was a funny Chinaman and evidently thought Arch and I had just arrived from the way he put prices on. I laughed at him and told him we had been in China a number of years and knew their customs…we bought five vases…we paid $1.50 and he was glad to sell at that. He pulled a handful of silver and wanted Arch to give him a dollar.”

“Tomorrow afternoon the missionaries of North Kiansu[?] entertain all the famine workers at the Anglo American school building… The famine is practically over now. A fine crop of wheat has been harvested and the price of flour has fallen back about to the old price. If the second crop comes on all of this year there will be no more suffering than usual. Of course the poor people will be much poorer and the rich much better off on account of the famine. The poor were forced to sell all that they had to the rich for almost nothing and now the rich will sell it back to them at exorbitant prices. The poor man leads a hard life in China compared to any other country.”

“Today was my last day of regular work in the dispensary. Will still have a few patients off and on but no regular work. This year I have had somewhere near 10000 patients of whom 775 stayed on the place for longer or shorter times. Operations amounted to over five hundred but most of them were lighter ones upon the eyes. Chloroform cases 72, I could not do that much work by myself but have had good help from my Chinese assistants. I don’t know whether they will come back in the fall or not. Mr. White has accused him of extorting money from some of the patients and with several other offenses… Mr. White insisted over my protest in searching his trunk… I don’t consider the man guilty on evidence that Mr. White thinks conclusive hence I suppose the cause of his zeal running away with his discretion. If the Chinese knew about it and would report this to our consul Mr. White might find it hard to keep out of jail… I think we owe it to our Chinese Christians to be more kindly in our treatment of them even if we are imposed upon sometimes. My rule is to suffer rather than oppress… The crowds keep up as usual at Church. It is full every Sunday and the interest keeps going on. I hope that nothing will ever arise to throw a danger on the growth of the church. Everything seems so bright and prosperous now.”

REFERENCES: McFadyen, Archibald at archives.yale.edu; Minutes and Reports of the Fifty-Second Annual Meeting of the Chosen Mission of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (Kobe, Japan: Japan Chronicle Press, 1936); History of the George Washington Bicentennial Celebration (Washington D.C.: U.S. George Washington Bicentennial Commission, 1932).

Item #7019

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